The emblazoned preamble of the Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution along with Section 2(1) which rhetorically provides “Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” is clearly symptomatic of oneness.
In reflection to a maxim, ‘unity is strength’, the aforementioned section is apt, regrettably, events have continued to reduce the assertion to mere slogan or a deliberate sham. Based on the perception, President Muhammadu Buhari recently reechoed the indissolubleness of the nation in reaction to a sectional agitation for cessation.
Disappointedly, the nation has continued to be measured by multiple legal systems; Criminal and Penal Codes applicable in the south and north respectively, and the Sharia law. This blooper itself clearly underscored aggregate disunity, solecism and disaster.
In addition, the incessant homicides perpetrated against the southern indigenes particularly Igbo on account of religious extremism are inconsistent with nationhood. A population with such orchestrated, egoistic and unrealistic legal systems bombastically running against each other had ab initio lost its fundamentals on nationality.
In a recent time, some Muslim extremists brutally murdered a businesswoman, Mrs. Bridget Aghahime in front of her shop of several years in the north for alleged blasphemy.
As reported, the five man-gang suspects arrested by the Police, in aberration were discharged by a Kano Magistrate on the directives of the state’s Attorney General upon Director of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s legal advice invoking Sec 211 which vests powers of nolle prosequie, but expected to meet certain prerequisites; on public interest, interest of justice and to prevent abuse of legal processes.
Similarly, an evangelist, Eunice Elijah was few months ago mercilessly hacked to death in Kubwa during an early hour’s evangelism in sync with her belief and fundamental right to religion. The litany of menfolk from the south resident in the north that were sent to early graves remains innumerable, in fact routinely witnessed as common incidents.
If indeed the suspects were released for whatever reasons, succinctly, a misnomer, condemnable, a gross pervasion of justice and obviously indicative the one-Nigeria project is a myth. By releasing the culprits even when the mourners are emotionally down, a strong message is communicated assuring of intimidating backups to unleash more terrors to their innocent southern victims. These incongruities, absurdities and unruliness attest to the weakness of the project.
Pro-Biafra activist and Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kalu who was arrested by the State Security Service, (DSS) in October 2015 over his activities alongside his Independent People of Biafra, IPOB initiative, over agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra, was earlier charged on conspiracy and terrorism.
He was later granted bail by the Federal High Court, Abuja but rearrested on other charges. Consequently, Kalu has since then remained in the custody while applications and rejoinders by defense and prosecution counsels respectively have continued with the charades in the court.
The perceived Kalu’s abandonment by the elites, I believe, was on account of his miscalculation by prematurely embarking on the project at a wrong time. IPOB was launched immediately after the misconstrued tribesman, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan lost out in an election massively contested and participated by all the ethnic nationalities.
Had it been the mêlée kicked-off as a result of the Fulani herdsmen’s brutal invasions, massacres and other intimidations of the Igbo, certainly, his support base would have recorded stronger forces in the geopolitical zone. Or had it resulted from the arbitrary killings of southern Christians in the north, undoubtedly, his arrest would have met a total resistance or anarchy. Thus, timing is pivotal in all adventures.
Democracy is largely moored on give and take. And certainly, a winner and loser must emerge. To keenly, unreservedly and liberally participate in the electoral process but refused to accept its outcomes on account of preference of a particular candidate as witnessed among Hillary Clinton’s supporters in the United States of America is weird, uncivilized and awkward. To freely participate attests to willingness to accept its outcomes provided in a free and fair contest.
Nevertheless, matters of this nature are better resolved politically with the leaders of the geopolitical zone. This would certainly address the issues amicably as one of the political tumults that usually occurs in any multi-ethnic society in a developing society, and above all, strategically used as opportunity to attentively thwart such agitations in the future. Imperatively, to untiringly file fresh cases could amount to further marginalization of the south-east geopolitical zone putting into consideration that similar actions had taken place in the past in other geopolitical zones that never encountered the rate of imbalances the zone is subjected.
Fulani herdsmen had unleashed unprecedented, gigantic and excruciating mayhems that are offensive to entire humanity. Innocent citizens had been invaded while asleep at mid-nights right in their homes and brutally woke up in pains by punctures of machetes, daggers, axes and hits of bullets leading to untimely deaths in cold-blood and massive injuries. What crime is greater than such heartless, barbarous and spiteful bestiality? Yet, no arrests talk less of detention or prosecution.
Similar incidents had also severally occurred in the north through Arewa Youths and others in the north. Despite the nature of criminality, political resolution was adopted and all charges against them withdrawn. Suffice to say the federal government owes a duty to equitably extend the olive branch to the south-east geopolitical zone by releasing and dropping all charges against Kalu and all the political detainees rather than re-filing criminal charges.
Government, at the same time ought to unveil its plans towards redressing some of the injustices and imbalances in the polity that could justify such agitations in the future for enduring peace and stability. Undeniably, federal government’s presence is visibly, ineffably and unbearably absent in the southeast.
By Carl Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and publisher.